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What in life could be more basic, simple and healthy than bottled water, lettuce and milk? We rely on these for nutrition and they are staples of the American diet.

Now we know as a result of a recent study by the United States Food and Drug Administration, that even these most basic staples aren't immune from the harm caused by years and years of industrialization and environmental abuse. The poison in question, perchlorate.

This poison comes from not only natural sources, but also industrial sources relating to the manufacture of fireworks, gunpowder, explosives, highway flares and other processes. As it turns out, perchlorate has done a very good job of infiltrating the food chain.

Yes, we may very well be consuming perchlorate as part of our daily diet. Green leaf lettuce from various parts of the country was found to contain perchlorate at ranges up to 21.7 parts per billion. The average contamination from samples taken throughout the United States was found to be 10.7 parts per billion.

Iceberg lettuce suffered the same fate with some high levels obtained from a Florida sample. The average was 7.76 parts per billion. The same applies to red leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce.

Milk is another story. The average contamination of milk was found to be 5.7 parts per billion. Even milk labeled as organic had measurable amounts of perchorate contamination according to this FDA study.

The FDA is quick to point out that there isn't much that we can glean from this information. It is, after all, preliminary and the amount of contamination on the product does not necessarily equate to the amount of contamination ingested.

But whether it is preliminary, and whether there is a direct correlation, one thing is certain: perchlorate has infiltrated the food chain. And that's bad news.

Perchlorate is known to have negative health consequences, specifically in young people. This contamination has resulted from years of industrial activity that has allowed this material to become embedded in our soils and migrate into our water.

Keep this term "perchlorate" in mind. It is becoming a significant source of drinking water contamination all over the United States. It seems that almost daily now, drinking water sources in municipalities from coast to coast are finding that they are tainted with perchlorate. In some cases, very expensive alternative water supplies have had to be developed.

No one should have to drink perchlorate in his or her water. Often, government funding is available to provide filters and, when needed, alternate water supplies. For those who have been forced to consume perchlorate over the years, they should consult with a doctor and seek capable legal advice to ensure their rights have been protected.

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